Any projects do not just simply happen to be successful, but they are made to happen to be successful. The project kickoff meeting is the most important meeting during the whole lifespan of the project. The main purpose of a project kickoff meeting is to formally notify that the project has begun. In this meeting, all the project team members are gathered along with stakeholders. The project kickoff meeting provides the project manager of the team to meet the entire team member and gain commitment from them so that the project can be finished on time with the estimated cost and established goals. In general, project kickoff meeting have four basic functions; publicly announce the beginning of the project, outline the project goals, roles and responsibility of individual, clarifying the expectation of all team members and stakeholders, and commitment by all team members for project outcomes.
Preparation for the kickoff meeting is also important for successful project kickoff meeting. There should be an agenda, presentation, and schedule and project material for the project kickoff meeting. All the meeting materials and agenda should be refined and distributed to team members before start of meeting. There should be time given for questions when meeting length is decided for project kickoff meeting. In addition, it should be taken care off that, the meeting start and end as per the meeting plan.
All the members of the project team and project influencers/stakeholders should be introduced to each other. It is also important to make sure all the members are clear on their roles, responsibility and expectation for the project. A project team contact list that includes the name, responsibility, department, physical location, phone number, fax number, and e-mail address for each member should be made and distributed to each member of the project team. The scope and objectives of the project should be described and it should not be assumed that the team members have read all the statement of the work. It is also important to make team members aware of all the assumptions that apply for the project. Various approaches for accomplishing the project should be explained to all the team members and stakeholders that include the schedule and critical path, review of the work plan, major milestones and deliverable of the project.
Success criteria for the project accomplishment should be defined so that the project team is clear about the client’s expectations from the project. Any risk, challenges and project constraints should be identified before the start of the project kickoff meeting and should be discussed with the project team members. Everyone’s concerns about the project’s success should be responded in timely manner. All the member of the project should be encouraged for the open discussion so that any findings can be included in project plan. It is also important that everyone’s understands the necessary project control and status requirements, including documentation standards and quality reviews. All the decisions and action assignment should be recorded for the project kickoff meeting and should be made available to all the participants of the project kickoff meeting.